What's an ocelot's favourite scent? The small wild cats that used to roam the southern states of the USA are a dwindling population, now living almost exclusively in isolated pockets of South Texas. Wildlife experts had devised a plan to lure the cats to a safer area, away from dangerous traffic, where they would also be closer together and could interbreed more easily. But for the ocelots to get there, they would have to follow an interesting and alluring scent trail.
The Dallas Zoo offered to test a variety of scents, from ocelot dung to snake shed, on four ocelots at the zoo. Responses were varied: Some scents left the cats cold, others were greeted with mild interest. But when a member of the team tossed in a towel soaked in her boyfriend's cologne, Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men, she hit the jackpot. One of the cats was ready for a date with the towel.
"She'd rub up against it," said research coordinator Cynthia Bennett. "She'd roll on it. She'd lay on it." Obsession creators declined to comment on either the call of the wild or what, exactly, was in the cologne. But they did acknowledge that it contained two kinds of synthetic musk.
Zoo officials decided just out of interest to test for similar reactions on other animals. They hung a burlap bag drenched in Obsession in the lion's den. Cuma, a three-year-old lioness took to the stuff with love on her mind. She hugged it and wouldn't let anyone take it away.
Zoo staff tore perfumed cards from magazines and offered them to the gorillas. "They rubbed the samples all over their necks and faces," said Bennett. "But it's hard to overpower gorilla smell. It ends up smelling like perfume on a sweaty guy."
Huan the cat's affection for Jerry is, admittedly, unnatural. Jerry, after all, is a mouse. Huan discovered the tiny rodent in a closet when Jerry was just a baby. Huan (which means "fat" in Thailand, where he lives) thought the critter was just too cute to eat. Instead he became baby Jerry's surrogate mom, protecting him from other cats and dogs.
The unlikely pair sleep together, play together, and even lap milk from the same bowl at the same time! But this isn't a case of unrequited love. In quiet moments, Jerry can be seen licking Huan's paws, the kitty equivalent of a really good massage.
It may catapult cats into paroxysms of pleasure but cockroaches won’t be joining the party. A recent discovery shows that catnip, a feline’s recreational “drug” of choice, keeps cockroaches from being gatecrashers. The only insect repellents currently on the market are designed to kill rather than just provide a polite hint that if you can’t cook, the kitchen is verboten.
But catnip will help keep the roaches out – along with spiders, mice, flies, and crickets – while making for a house filled with very happy cats.
Ghostly midnight moans and the sign of the cross on the hearth rug prompted John and Jackie Bambrick to flee their home and call in a special priest to perform an exorcism on the poltergeist. A day later, when Mr. Bambrick returned home to collect more of his belongings, he looked again at the strange markings on the rug next to the ornamental gas hearth fire and decided to call the gas company.
The gas man discovered the real devil: a somewhat bedraggled, neighbourhood ginger cat who had been stuck up the chimney for six days. The kitty ran out of the house before anyone could catch him. Neighbours are keeping an eye out for him.
A Japanese veterinarian studied cats heartbeats as they listened to different kinds of music.
Rock tunes disturbed all the cats and got a big paws down. Muzak got a feline flat line.
And puddy’s favourite: classical, instrumental or New Age. All were the cats miaow.